Green is way better than diamonds!
By: Sharie Carter-Bane
July 8, 2019
The end of June I decided to visit my favorite Aunt and Uncle that live in Arizona. I was a child the last time I visited the area (not my family though). First, I have been told you should visit AZ in the winter not during the 112-degree summer days. I am not very good at listening to travel advice, I just wanted to visit my aunt and uncle. I wasn’t prepared for the terrain, even though I understood I was headed for the desert.
I like Illinois for the most part. I enjoy the four seasons and the extremes in temperatures. There are beautiful blooms in the spring, summer, and fall. Winters bring the beauty of ice and snow. The hardest time of the year is the barren months of February when winter has stuck around a little too long exposing the frozen black dirt empty of any of Earths beautiful flora and fauna. But by the time March comes around Mother Nature starts showing some green grass and all is forgiven until next February.
That wasn’t the case when my flight descended on to the barren lands of the AZ desert floor. It is the end of June and the Midwest is covered with flowers, plenty of newborn animals and birds everywhere. I forgot how gray and brown the desert is (I know there is the spring bloom.) I tried to find the beauty in the cacti and color variations in the rocks, but it just wasn’t there. I wanted to love the area. I was questioning why I was having so much trouble falling in love with this environment. Then I opened an email from Jess Beyler, an artist in our building who I have learned to appreciate. Call it a coincidence, karma, or just plain luck but in an instant Jess answered my question. Her email below explained what I was unable to explain or capture in my own words. The title of the email was, “Green is way better than diamonds!” I have become numb to the fact that I am surrounded by green plants everywhere and that green inspires me as a human. Without realizing it, I lost the appreciation of my surroundings.
In her email she explains we are the only known planet in the universe with the color GREEN. I never thought about what a responsibility that really is to humans. Her words hit me like a brick right upside the head. WOW, we are the only place in the universe with oxygen producing plants. The substance of life, as we know it. The AZ desert may have its own beauty, but we need to take care of the green including the desert flora. Diamonds and gold are abundant in the Universe, but our green planet is a rarity. Jess reminded me why I love the Midwest and even more importantly the responsibility I have as an individual and business owner to keep this planet GREEN. Join me in taking steps in “my world” to keep “our world” GREEN.
Below is Jess Beyler’s email, I hope it inspires you in the same way it has inspired me. Thank you, Jess.
Email received June 27, 2019:
By: Jess Beyler, Artist
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2019 11:29:46 PM
Subject: Green is way better than diamonds!
GREEN is a rare color in this universe, but around here [Midwest] we can get bored of it. Fields of corn. Fields of beans. Fields of corn. The pumpkin that was thrown into the compost heap sprouts without permission, climbs out of the box and threatens to take over the world or at least the whole backyard. The grass needs cutting, AGAIN! And tourists don't come here much because there's nothing to see-- just some really great black dirt and too much green. But this green life we are so casual about in the Midwest, is much more precious than diamonds and gold. Diamonds are apparently routine, in the larger reality of the normal universe. Diamonds are just drastically compressed carbon and carbon is common. Scientists tell us, “it rains diamonds on Neptune”, and we know that meteorites are peppered with them. When conditions are right, diamonds can be created out of polystyrene in a nanosecond. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjjx3w/scientists-create-diamonds-from-plastic-using-high-powered-lasers
And what about GOLD? Scientists recently observed a collision of a couple of neutron stars and it is estimated to have made as much gold as the mass of our planet earth. Just spat it out like so much dust, and I read that there is a neutron star collision every year or two somewhere out there. But the lovely intricacies of the light harvesting frothy flowering green going on all around us is no place else but here on the planet EARTH. At least as far as we earthlings know. I mean surely, we aren't alone in the whole universe with this precious treasure of green.... there are so many other planets.....But we haven't found any leaves out there yet. Not even any green slime.
Plants are amazing for so many reasons. Do you realize that there are bristle cone pine trees that are 5 thousand years old? That's old enough that one of those trees could have personally invented the alphabet or drawn up plans for the great Pyramid or tamed the very first donkey. And, oh yeah, plants make all the oxygen on the planet. None of us would be here without oxygen. Planet Earth did not start out with oxygen. It is the green on the planet that allows us to be here.
We were born to this green Earth and it is all that we can remember, with all the collective memory of the human race. All the stories and all the songs ever written assume that there is green. But I have begun to be afraid for our planet. I feel like we, the human race, are children playing fast and rough with something beautiful, difficult to fix if broken, and ultimately irreplaceable. The thought that we might have the only plant life in the universe is a terrifying thought to me; I hope it isn't true. The responsibility would be enormous. But even if there is some other lovely green place out there somewhere, it wouldn't be this place. It wouldn't be us. It wouldn't be our prairies and our trees. And we wouldn't be able to get there.
I wish I could paint about it. I want to form exactly the shape of my love for this place, this Earth, with its gardens and forests and seaweed. I have tried. But for some reason, when I paint, what comes out of my brush is fire and water and those twin infinities: the oceans and the heavens. I seem to be about photons and elements and basic powers like gravity, acceleration, impact, release. I rarely paint (or dream, for that matter) of anything as sweetly intricate as a lily or a blade of grass, (although I did once dream about a lovely old tree, when I was worried about the passing of my youth). People sometimes talk as if they think artists can do whatever they want, at least in the realm of their work, but it isn't so. I feel like a message in a bottle, written and cast into the sea by who knows who, I don't get to pick what that message says or where it will go. I don't even understand it, sometimes.
But the other day, in a painting about light and comets and the magnificent goings-on in outer space (which I do love), I slipped in a little green planet. Earth. The green jewel of our known universe.
I have attached an image of the painting to this email, but you can see it for real at the corporate headquarters of Busey Bank, which is in downtown Urbana, IL. Busey is showing and collecting art that comes from the communities it serves and I am proud to have been chosen again to be part of this. The exhibition is on the second and third floors of the bank. Do not be intimidated by the glass elevator and the fact that it is in the Wealth Management area. Anybody can go up to see the art.
June 27, 2019